January 28, 2021

Introducing Art World Learning

Art World Learning

Clockwise from top left: Luke Blackadar, Kay Takeda, Marci Blackman, Diana Y Greiner, Yanely Espinal, Amy Whitaker, and Jessica Lee.

Financial empowerment videos for artists, designers, and cultural producers
The new division of Art World Conference brings tailored financial education to artists, designers and cultural producers through their colleges and universities.

Today Art World Conference—the professional development experience that brings together artists and arts professionals at all stages of their careers—announced the launch of Art World Learning (AWL), a new online education platform. AWL brings financial health to artists, designers, and cultural producers through a series of videos and learning materials presented by and for creatives on topics such as freelance finance, budgeting, taxes, credit, debt, investing, and intellectual property. A trailer for Art World Learning is available here.

The subscription-based platform is currently being used by educational institutions across the country and is available to schools and arts organizations that wish to foster the financial independence of their students, alumni, and artist/designer communities. Cranbrook Academy of Art, College for Creative Studies, and Montserrat College of Art were among the first subscribers.

Art World Learning objectives:
–To normalize a concrete, actionable discussion of value, money, and financial health in the arts
–To explicitly address the financial lives of artists, arts workers, and their businesses through a lens of sustainability
–To increase the bargaining power of the art sector and empower a more diverse group of artists to acknowledge their agency and their value in social, cultural, and monetary terms

“While cultural producers are predominantly self-employed, they often resist the designation of ‘small business owner,’” states Heather Bhandari. “When they do look for help in finance and business, the education often misunderstands the realities of creative practice. Art World Learning exists as a tool to bring more nuanced financial and business education to creatives by creatives who’ve dedicated their lives to the empowerment of others”

Dexter Wimberly added, “In the spring, we had many discussions about what we could do to help artists and designers become better equipped to deal with the unstable and unpredictable economic realities that were only worsened by the COVID-19 crisis. We spent our entire summer planning an online conference, shooting and editing videos, and building a new website while taking precautions to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We knew, despite all of the challenges of production during a pandemic, that it was important to launch Art World Learning quickly.”

In 2019, Dexter Wimberly and Heather Bhandari partnered to launch Art World Conference, a platform that produces large-scale in-person events and online programming to provide artists and arts professionals access to business education, financial health, and each other. To date, they’ve produced in-person conferences in New York City and Los Angeles, a series of free online workshops to help artists during the pandemic, as well as a recent online conference that attracted 400 attendees from around the globe. Art World Conference has featured over 100 leading art world figures, business experts, and academics through its programming, including Mickalene Thomas, Kemi Ilesanmi, Gonzalo Casals, Risë Wilson, Mario Ybarra Jr, Dario Calmese, Andre Perry, Deana Haggag, and Arthur Lewis.

Dexter Wimberly is an established independent curator who has organized exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. He is also a Senior Critic at New York Academy of Art. Heather Bhandari is a bestselling author whose book Art/Work was published by Simon and Schuster in 2009 and updated in 2017. Bhandari is also a curator and adjunct lecturer at Brown University.

About Art World Conference
Art World Conference (AWC) produces actionable, inclusive workshops and events, both in-person and online, focused on business and financial health to build and sustain careers in the arts. The emphasis of all programming is on personal and professional development and empowerment, with a guiding belief that financial health and sustainability for cultural producers is a social justice issue.

Art World Conference is a fiscally sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Contact: info [​at​]

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